Terpenes (general)

Training the Nose to Know Terpenes: The Werc Shop’s Cannaroma Kit

There’s an old adage that the nose knows, and my nose has told me that this is true. While researching for the book The Cannabis Terpene Experience, I began to identify the same terpenes in many of the plants that I find pleasing. The dominant one in the plants that I seem to have affinity for is linalool, which is in lavender, cannabis, hops, jasmine, bergamot, different mints, and basil, to name a few. It is quite the beautiful little terpenoid.

When we smell cannabis, the bouquet is powerful with a cornucopia of many terpenes, some dominant and highly concentrated, and others in trace amounts but no less loud. If we could better train our noses, much like a perfumer might, we could become intimate with the scents of individual terpenes, and then test our newly trained nose on something more complex like our favorite cannabis flowers. Can you pluck out individual terpenes amongst the masses?

Our content theme this month is cannabis education, and the Cannaroma Kit created by The Werc Shop provides an excellent instructional tool to better refine your nose which could enhance your ability to olfactorily dissect your favorite cultivar, parsing the fragrance into its constituents.

If you can smell the flowers in dispensaries, behind more general descriptions such as woodsy, gassy, earthy, cheesy, or citrusy are a collection of terpenes (and other molecules like thiols and esters). Terpenes distinguish different cultivars and help drive the physiological experience unique to you – how a given cultivar affects you. So, being able to waft the flowers and identify key terpenes could help you find what you’re looking for – your nose may know what’s best, after all.

The kit comes with nine terpene isolates and one blend intended to relate a popular cultivar. I’m not sure if every kit contains the same cultivar terp blend, and I don’t want to ruin your fun by telling you what I got, but my cultivar blend portrays a gorgeous cannabis variety that I’ve always thought had something for everyone from a terpene perspective. So, it’s a challenging one to include in the kit! Can you guess what it is?

To me, the kit is best evaluated by removing your sense of sight, such that (a) you do not see the labels on the individual scent inhalers, and (b) so that you can focus on what you smell. Take deep inhalations and really try to pull apart the smell. What does it remind you of? Have you encountered in before? Take notes and don’t be afraid to get nerdy with it.

The kit also comes with some fun fact cards, but again, I recommend browsing those after you’ve had a chance to engage with the different scents. Go into it as blind as possible. Test your sensory powers!

As we seek to educate consumers in the industry (and let’s face it, many cannabis industry professionals comprise a sizeable chunk of consumers as well), it’s important to make science fun, sharable, able to be brought out the lab and into the home, and this kit does that. Perhaps one day, it will be expanded to include more individual terpenes (perhaps some of those lower concentration ones that burst through the bouquet), and other cultivars, but for now, it provides a nice option to educating your nose.

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Terpenes and Testing

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